Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Techniques for Writers

Being a writer - as well as an avid reader - I'm always ready to try out new ways to get myself into the zone to write more of my books.  So, I'm constantly watching and reading interviews of famous writers who have revealed their ideas of how to write and keep yourself focused.

Today, I watched an interview on 'Brain Pickings' about Ray Bradbury a 30 minute interview in the 1970's where he talked about his childhood, where some of his characters came from, what he's read and how he's gotten into the zone of writing as well as where some of his characters came from.  He did tell the interviewer that he had a piece of cardboard taped to his typewriter with the words:  'Don't Think' written on it.  He sits at his typewriter and just writes whatever comes into his head, he doesn't think about what comes out of his fingers and knows that once he looks at it again, it'll be okay and he can edit it and work on it.
Ray Bradbury believes that at the typewriter or computer, you do your dreaming and it's where you write down your dreams; and away from it is where you do your thinking, never the other way around otherwise you'll fall asleep.

He also doesn't believe in reading lists but loved libraries.  He loved walking along the aisles of books and just picking one off the shelf and opening it up to read it... no planning of what to read or anything, just blindly walking up and finding a book to read was his way as it'd feel like a new adventure each time.

This interview brought a whole new light on Ray Bradbury I never knew about him as a person and a writer.  I loved it from beginning to end; as it wasn't boring and it was very interesting... he even talked about the interview itself saying that he wasn't thinking about his answers as he was being asked them.  How great is that?  

Now, I have techniques that get me into the zone of writing too.  Even though I'm not published or famous or well-known, I still enjoy the act of writing books and poetry.  And my techniques work for me.

1.  I have my desk pointed into a corner away from the door of my office.  It's the most boring idea ever!  But if you point your desk into a corner with your back to the door, it's practically closed to the world, you have to turn around to talk to anyone coming in. 

2.  I have a window, but it looks out at the back wall of my back neighbours... not a great view.  There's nothing to interest me but television antennas, tile roofs and brick walls... and that's how it should be.  Yeah I have the sky, but it's not all that exciting, we see sky every day.

3.  I have no other electronic thing in my office.  No television, no radio, no other works.  Yes, I have a phone or two (landline and mobile) and my iPod, but I'm too lazy to get up and go to the next room to pick up the phone if it rings.

4.  Nobody else uses my office without asking me first... it's where my book collection is and where I get my ideas, so if they just walk in here without asking, I feel kind of violated as though they don't care it's my private lair.

5.  I have a collection of toys and weird things where the printer used to be above the monitor.  I no longer own a printer as I don't print out stuff anymore - well not as much - and I don't move those things much.  There's a stuffed toy there I call Mr PeaBody who I can't write anything without him being around.  He's a weird-looking critter with round blue glasses - looks like a cross between a skunk and a badger... but he's cute... and if he'd gone from his spot, I draw a blank when I sit down at my desk.

What things and rituals do you have as a writer - if you are one?  And if you're a reader, are there funny things you do to get into the zone of reading?  Do you read with your cat, dog or a favourite piece of music playing on a loop?  Do you have to have a cup of peppermint tea next to you (whether you drink it or not) just to keep you transfixed?  Do tell... we'd love to know your ideas and rituals - now you know mine.  Until my next post, happy reading.

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